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Media Jobs Monthly Newsletter

November 10, 2010
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I love statistics, but everyone (including my editors!) seems like the proverbial deer in the headlights when it comes to making sense out of data in the labor industry. So in this month's newsletter, we're tackling how the big forces might really be impacting your career, job, and the well-being of your workforce -- or not.

First, we have to question how and why we let all this data into our heads in the first place. If the reason is to prevent our minds from pondering the uncertainty and fears that plague us all, there is no number more likely to keep us distracted than the unemployment figures. But that rate, as I've said before, is really quite useless. Dig into the statistics yourself to figure out how the economy can add 151,000 jobs and have the unemployment rate stay the same. In the process, you will learn about the "marginally attached," "involuntary part-time," and "discouraged" workers. These are the people who move the unemployment number, and more importantly, the overall insecurity about working in the new age.

And what do you get when you combine down time and unemployment statistics? Holy Human Resources! It's The Adventures of Unemployed Man! This comic book, written by a laid-off media guy, really got us thinking about the flaws in our employment system. For example, an increase in average weekly wages isn't always a "silver lining." People are working more, not getting paid more for their work. There are also some areas where there are expected to be labor shortages. In the past, I've argued that there are real labor shortages *today* in certain segments of media, and employers who are having a hard time filling certain jobs need to do two things: pay more as opposed to expect employees to do more; and make their companies authentically attractive places to work. A good place to start is to rewrite that crap on your corporate website.

Another statistic-saturated area of note is the topic of workplace demographics. We hear that by 2014, half the workforce will be "millennials," and 60 percent will be female. But behind the numbers, as this insightful piece reminds us, are more subtle qualitative differences driven by age and gender, not generational differences driven by sheer numbers.

People of all ages are behaving differently these days, especially when using social media in the job search. Are you adapting to the new techniques and methods? Or are you going to be just another marginally attached, involuntary, part-time, discouraged statistic?

Bill Conneely,
Director, Strategy

Employment Up 151,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Employment rose 151,000 in the month of October but the unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent, proving that once again flat is the new up. Analysts had predicted that the unemployment rate would jump by at least a few tenths of a percentage point, so while the anticipated growth has not yet happened, the numbers are less bad than they could have been.

Despite Recession, Labor Shortage Looms (Human Resource Executive Online)
When HRE Online paired the number of openings for the five fastest-growing jobs with the career aspirations of 2010 high-school graduates, it turns out there's a mismatch. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 16 percent of all job openings in 2018 will be in education, but just nine percent half of high school graduates want to go into education. More importantly, eight percent of job openings will be in marketing but only two percent of students view the field as desirable. Oh no!

The Silver Lining: Higher Wages (CNN Money)
Average weekly wages rose in October by the biggest percentage since the Great Depression -- up 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. It's not due to employees getting raises, but those who are working are working longer and harder, which translates, any way you cut it, to more money in workers' pockets. This could be key to turning the economy around, analysts say.

Emerging Expectations from Shifting Workplace Demographics (HRM Today)
By 2014, half of the workforce will be millennials. If that doesn't scare you, great. But either way, you're going to have to cope with it and other changes in the workforce: in four years, the workforce will be more female, more tech-savvy, and more connected than ever before.

What Happened to Downtime? (Fast Company)
"Why do we give up our sacred space so easily? Because space is scary. During these temporary voids of distraction, our minds return to the uncertainty and fears that plague all of us. To escape this chasm of self-doubt and unanswered questions, you tune into all of the activity and data for reassurance."

Authenticity: Do You Really Think Applicants Believe That Crap on Your Corporate Site? (
Short version: If you feel like you can't say "crap," you're probably not really trying hard to be authentic. Applicants respond to signs that "lawyers, PR people, and corporate invertebrates have not been allowed to completely reduce your messaging to 100 percent corporate blah blah." Here's how.

Holy Human Resources! Comic Book Character Captures Dual Nature of HR Pros (
A new graphic novel called The Adventures of Unemployed Man, written by a laid-off media guy, portrays HR as an evil villainess. How do you feel about *that*?

8 Ways to Land a Job Using LinkedIn (
Here's how jobseekers are using LinkedIn right now. Are you adapting to their new techniques and methods?

--Compiled by Rachel Kaufman, editor,

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